For the joggers amongst us, it becomes a tricky task to find a suitable running route in a congested urban environment, especially when also factoring in traffic noise and pollution, as well as that rocketing mercury in the thermometer.
Well-known as one of the “three furnaces” of the Yangtze River Valley in summertime, Nanjing is hot and humid, muggy and sweltering, together with Wuhan and Chongqing. With today being the first day of summer (夏至), according to the 24 Chinese Solar Terms, and the Summer Solstice, it is fitting that we start with the best option to stay cool(ish) while running.
Purple Mountain Inner Loop
The green shade under the trees of Purple Mountain offer the best protection from the heat of Nanjing’s summer sunshine. Immediately feel the temperature is cooler than that in city, while breathing the mountain’s fresh air and embracing the natural scenery.
At any time of year, most of the time, Nanjing’s Olympic Stadium in Hexi is quite peaceful. One lap of the stadium totals about 3 km along the quiet, narrow road that meanders around the stadium’s perimeter. Luckily, when there are concerts or perhaps a football match going on in the stadium, the accompanying adrenaline rush is free.
Ming City Wall Footpath
Running along the Nanjing Ming City Wall is undoubtedly a thrill, but the cobbled stone surface is going to produce a sprained ankle sooner rather than later. Instead, the safer (and free) option is the footpath that runs alongside the wall, from Kunlun Lu to Taicheng Lu and Jimingsi Lu. From there, enjoy the historical architecture along Beijing Dong Lu, Longpan Lu, Taiping Men and Baima Park. The route equals 4 km in total.
Enjoy seeing local people doing various activities around the lake, some playing saxophone, some square dancing, on this 9.2 km run that can also be cut in half by taking a short cut across the lake via Huanzhou, Cherry Island, Liangzhou and Cuizhou.
A difficult route to explore, but likely the most interesting of all, especially for architecture enthusiasts. For Yihe Lu is always viewed as half of the history of the Republic of China by local people. Remaining basically what it looked like in the 1930s, more than 200 mansions are scattered over 12 city blocks, making it a natural exhibition of western-style architecture from the Republican era. As well as being homes for the wealthy and powerful, so too here can be found many foreign embassies of the time, such as both the Australian and Swiss embassies.
Victory Memorial Hall Square
Located on the banks of the Yangtze River and at the mouth of Qinhuai River, the Victory Memorial Hall Square geographical location makes it a great starting place for a perfect run, made possible by the recent years’ work that has gone into the beautiful landscaping beside one of the world’s greatest rivers, which also affords fantastic views of the river island that is Jiangxinzhou.
Riverside Scenery Belt
Saving the most challenging for last, the riverside scenery belt in Hexi is 10km long from Green Expo Garden via the Nanjing Eye to the Fish Mouth Wetland Park. Even though it is a bit far from the city, you can feel the beauty of the combination of urban architecture and natural scenery at the wetland park’s lighthouse (pictured top). Time the run for dusk and witness a spectacular sunset.
Many of the other aforementioned options are also well lit at night time, making them attractive jogging locations for during Nanjing’s summer when the temperatures are a lot more manageable.